Cleveland Wedges are synonymous with success, and we are thrilled to find out why.
Time and time again it is said that it is crucial to have a strong handle on your short game. This probably will not come as a surprise to most of our readers, but like so many other aspects of the game, every company is trying to get players more dialed in from 100 yards.
Cleveland, who is arguably most well-known for their wedges, feels they have brought the perfect wedge to market with the new RTX-3. That should not raise many eyebrows. Every year, every brand releases a new best of the best golf product. So what has Cleveland done to “get your golf ball closer to the hole than ever before”?
When Cleveland asked how I would like the clubs built, my only request was using my current gapping and KBS shaft set up. But I asked if they would choose the grinds based on my current playing conditions. They were happy to do so, which I discuss more in depth below. I was excited to switch things up a bit with the RTX-3, so I ordered them in the tour satin finish. Coming from a wedge set that was “blacked out,” I wanted something different. Build time was a week at most, and they arrived shortly after.
When these arrived, I was so blown away by the finish. The tour satin finish looks like a piece of jewelry, at least to me, I’m weird. The swing weight felt great, and I loved the consistency of matching them with my current shafts. So after a hand full of awkward carpet swings, I brought them to the course. Luckily for our readers, I took pictures of these beauties ahead of time, you’re welcome. Truthfully, I am happy I did so because once I started swinging these wedges, I knew they would have a high chance of staying in the bag.
Almost immediately I could feel the difference in the V sole cutting through the ground. And on shots that I was trying to lift the ball cleanly, the wedge was like a springboard coming off the surface. I enjoyed looking down at a silver club, versus black, but that was just a preference of mine that has nothing to do with Cleveland per se, but I’m just sharing my personal opinion. Last but not least, this whole sweet spot thing. Um, yeah, pretty dang noticeable.
So what’s different with the RTX-3?
The technology in this model is pretty exciting. With a redesign of the hosel, they have been able to redistribute weight in the head. This yielded a much larger sweet spot. And sweet spots are always a good thing. Moving the sweet spot away from the hosel, gives the player more confidence with distance control and accuracy. Nine grams of mass was removed from the hosel in total and redistributed to the wedge head for a center of gravity closer to the impact zone. Not only does this improve feel, but testing also shows this technology has created the tightest shot dispersion of any wedge Cleveland Golf has ever made.
Now that the club is easier to hit and hunt down targets with ease, how is that ball going to check up?
Well, The third-generation RTX face features a refined groove shape, a new Rotex micro-milling pattern engineered to optimize spin performance by loft, and Laser Milling. These technologies combine to generate not only the most spin but the most consistent spin within the limits.
Cleveland has also matched milling patterns with specific lofts. The advanced, 2-pass micro milling pattern increases friction and is directionally enhanced by loft: (46º-52º) have a circular pattern oriented straighter toward the leading edge to accommodate full shot performance. High lofts (54º-64º) feature a design angled toward the toe to match swing path on open-face shots for optimal greenside performance.
Offering three grinds in the RTX-3 wedge, we noticed a nice V shape leading edge. If you have been paying attention to Srixon’s irons this year that has seen tons of success, this is a pretty consistent technology. The V shape with a leading edge bounce helps the clubhead through the turf faster at impact for a crisper feel and more consistent performance.
The RTX-3 grinds are as follows:
V-LG LOW BOUNCE GRIND (1 DOT) •
Cleveland’s narrowest low bounce sole for maximum versatility. The V transition point is closer to the leading edge, making this grind ideal for tight, firm conditions and those with a shallow attack angle. The increased, leading edge bounce gets the club in and out of the turf quickly on full shots.
- Increased Versatility
- Narrowest Sole
- Lowest Effective Bounce
V-MG MID BOUNCE GRIND (2 DOT) ••
This V-shaped sole features mid bounce suitable for a broad range of players and turf conditions. The V transition is in the middle of the sole to provide lift through the turf while keeping the leading edge close to the ground when opening the face.
- All-Around Playability and Versatility
- Mid Effective Bounce
V-FG FULL SOLE GRIND (3 DOT) •••
This full sole shape designed with slight trailing edge relief. The wider sole with the V transition closer to the trailing edge provides the most lift when traveling through the turf. This grind is ideal for softer course conditions and those with steep angles of attack.
- Most Stability Through Turf
- Widest Sole
- Highest Effective Bounce
For point of reference, I will explain my most commonly played courses and what Cleveland paired my wedge grinds. As you know, being a resident in Texas has me most frequently playing dry, firm, and tight fairways. (Pending I find them) My 52 degree was built with a mid-bounce grind (MG) or the two-dot. While my 56 and 60, were made in the low bounce grind (LG) or 1 dot.
On the course
Typically we try to be thorough with any review, particularly with any club. Every golfer knows it can be exciting to play with new equipment. So to avoid any placebo effect, we try to spend ample range/course time with the product. This club was going so well; I was almost skeptical, I played a total of 10 rounds before sitting down to share my thoughts. I was convinced it had to be mental with the new finish, or maybe matching my shafts to the rest of my set, or honestly finally just getting a correct grind for my wedge set.
But honestly, the new technology is there and noticeable. As I shared on course pictures on my social media accounts, comments were left from different golfers with comments that looked like this. “I left X brand for these, and will never go back,” or “ I switched to the RTX-3 from XYZ and was so surprised”.
I think this was one of those wedge releases with real technology changes.
They didn’t just slap a new shade of color finishing and replace the engravings. The V grind sole is a game changer, at least for my game. As well as the “sweet spot” area being adjusted with the movement of weight from the neck. These were two real features for me that I enjoyed after only a few swings. For me, when the “good” feedback from shots become more frequent with a club, it builds confidence in that club. And that is nothing short of what I was able to experience with the RTX-3 and is why competitor “X” is now in the golf closet, and these are in my bag.
I found most of my misses to be more so on my ability to find accurate distance control, which I feel is unrelated to the club and more on range time. Which was rewarding, because my most common miss with a wedge was to “thin” the ball. The V sole is more than likely to thank for this, so cheers Cleveland.
Through its Paces
How does that beautiful finish hold up? A question I wondered right after I was reviewing the on-course pictures I took of this amazing wedge set. Well, many range sessions and ten rounds later, they are still sharp. I will say, being a satin finish, they don’t hide nature as well as my previous black wedges. In my opinion, though, the tradeoff is worth it. The engraving on the wedges is deep, and the font is wider than previous models. Which makes them easier to clean and get the crud out. I think this will make a good looking club stay that way much longer than the standard fine engraving from versions of the past.
New Age Club Buying
It seems many big OE’s are finally getting on the “custom” train, and we LOVE it. Now the pictures you see of my set are custom features more focused on matching my performance, with shafts and grip. But if you are the type of player to want to have something different than all your buddies at the course, first of all, we would make great friends, and second, Cleveland has you covered.
Aside from picking grind, shafts, and grips; you now have the ability to personalize. Custom stamping and color groupings of your choice can be selected on the Cleveland golf website. If you have questions along the way, they have a live help option. I cannot speak for their turnaround time personally but they claim this feature does not add much time, and the results are worth the wait.
Want to know more about the Cleveland RTX-3?
We feel Cleveland made a big statement with the re-design of the RTX-3 and at a price point of $129.99 per club, they are very competitive. We look forward to seeing what else they come up with in the future. (hint hint, it’s their new CBX Wedge) In the meantime, these have found a new home in my bag for a while. Which is not always the case for Matt and I. So many companies make great products but again it’s about matching it to your game and ultimately helping you get lower scores. And with that being said, I foresee the RTX-3 doing just that.